Date: 3/3/17 5:03 am
From: Julia Hanauer-Milne <windyridgemaine...>
Subject: Re: [Maine-birds] Peter Vickery, 1949-2017
Thanks for that lovely tribute and remembrance. I never met Peter
personally, but we emailed a few times about grassland birds. I did not
know he was sick and so was shocked when I heard the news. I will miss his
knowledge and generosity. Maine birders have lost a great one.

On Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 7:27 AM, Jan Pierson <jpierson...>

> Dear all:
> Peter Vickery died early Tuesday morning, at his home in Richmond and with
> his wife, Barbara, at his side. Although diagnosed with esophageal cancer
> in September 2015, Peter was able to manage his illness remarkably well,
> and with a spirit and optimism that have both inspired and sustained those
> who loved him. As recently as last week, he was making plans to visit
> Matinicus Rock in June.
> Readers of this listserv are familiar with Peter from his many posts here
> over the years, and hundreds of you know him personally—as birding
> acquaintances, field trip participants, co-leaders, CBC counters,
> colleagues, co-authors, and close friends. I can hear Peter's voice in my
> ear as I write this, and so I want to share a few thoughts.
> My wife, Liz, and I met Peter in the late 1970s while birding on Monhegan.
> We were complete newbies, full of energy and ignorance, while Peter was
> already an accomplished and experienced birder. He was leading a group, and
> our interactions were brief. He was seeing some pretty cool stuff, and we
> didn't have much to offer in return. You can imagine our amazement when he
> pulled the head of a freshly dead Sora from his pocket! He’d watched the
> bird fall prey to a cat, and in Peter's hands its remains were now a
> teaching tool.
> Over the next 10 years or so, we would run into Peter intermittently at
> Scarborough Marsh, Popham, the Kennebunk Plains, Biddeford Pool, or
> elsewhere our birding paths crossed. For the most part, though, Peter on
> the one hand and Liz and I on the other existed in separate orbits, in
> large part because we lived in different parts of the state. Liz and I
> learned much about birds in Maine and elsewhere in that period, but little
> about Peter.
> In 1981 Liz (mostly) and I co-authored *A Birder's Guide to the Coast of
> Maine*—limited to the coast because, well, there was still a big chunk of
> the state with which we had little experience. The book was carried by a
> lot of birders for many years, but I imagine Peter (though he never
> expressed it to us) might have been thinking we'd written from a relative
> paucity of experience and limited data points. He would've been right.
> The 1990s arrived, the little coastal *Birder's Guide* was getting long
> in the tooth, and Liz and I began to ponder an update, one that would cover
> the whole state. We put feelers out to birders around Maine for preliminary
> information and suggestions, including Peter. One day out of the blue Peter
> called and asked if he could come over. He appeared carrying a box, and he
> offered its contents for our use, no strings attached. “It's all yours," he
> said. Inside were several hundred typed pages of detailed and nearly
> complete descriptions for dozens of birding sites around the state, clearly
> compiled from a continuing effort on his part that had spanned a decade, if
> not two. It was a remarkable gesture, representing months of fieldwork and
> research we wouldn’t have to do.
> That gesture on Peter's part opened the door to our relationship, ensuring
> success of our nascent book project, which the three of us published in
> 1996 as *A Birder's Guide to Maine*. It was a revelation of a generosity
> of spirit on Peter's part that Liz and I would see again and again over the
> next 25 years, from birding to work to family interactions with him and
> Barbara and their sons, Gabe and Simon.
> Peter loved birds, and they were woven, inseparably and on a daily basis,
> into his life and his soul. I hold the joy of reminiscing over innumerable
> early mornings and long days with Peter in search of avian delights and
> discoveries: around the Ice Pond on Monhegan, on countless Maine Audubon
> fall pelagics, while scanning through peeps at Popham, when standing
> calf-deep in water at Scarborough Marsh, floating downwind of a waft of
> guano off Matinicus Rock or Eastern Egg, doing our dawn-to-dusk Maine
> Audubon Big Days, admiring the wash on the breast of a wispy-tailed Roseate
> Tern, freezing our tails off scanning for Dovekies from Cape Small (sharing
> some homemade eggnog as the reward), and walking the shore at his and
> Barbara's beloved Seawall Beach.
> This love of Peter's never waned, even if it required, in the past year, a
> brief nap on the deck when we were out on the *Friendship V* or the *Hardy
> III*, or a snooze beside me in the car on a long drive. For many years
> now, Peter has always come to mind when a raptor's silhouette has passed
> overhead along I-95—he would never have missed it—or when passing an exit
> we've taken or a birding site we have visited many times together. These
> and many other fond memories will remain with me always—indelible,
> invaluable gifts from Peter.
> Jan Pierson
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